An Effort

Yes, I want distraction. So I am creating it. I do not wish to think. Alright. But I have to, or else I should make a decision not to think (I mean: a permanent decision, a professional decision, such as leaving this program—ridiculous—or getting a lobotomy or receiving a serious brain injury—also ridiculous, but at least with less personal consequence) (if one thinks of “personal consequence” as being “interior repercussions”) (admitting that serious brain injuries—whether accidental or intentional—of course have “interior repercussions”, though perhaps not to the subjective identity that calls itself “self” before the injury or operation, because this self may be obliterated by the brain’s injuries) (though, admittedly, since very few, if any, who undergo such injuries return from this state to a position of “normal expressive consciousness” we can, really, never know whether this is actually the case) (and, of course, I am by no means well read in this matter and it may that we can in fact know and I am just ignorant of the science that proves this to be so).

Okay, time to think. From this point on, no checking anything until this ridiculously easy assignment is completed. Oh distraction, oh trauma, oh emotion, &c, &c, &c.

To that end,

A Short Essay

* * *

Dorothy Wordsworth’s poem “Thoughts on My Sick-bed” demonstrates the importance of mobility to understanding and experience in the Romantic period of English Literature which occurred roughly around the end of the 18th Century up until 1830 or so which is (I think) when Wordsworth died even though he was basically neutered at this point through being named England’s poet laureate (or something, I’m recalling this information over a gap of 5 or 6 years). This is not an essay and the preceding was not a thought. Admitting that, let’s pretend that this is the kind of information you want in the form that you want it, instead of recognizing that what precedes and follows from this sentence will just be a stream of association with no direction or organizing meaning. Maybe I could have done a better job, but instead of writing last night I stayed up watching television (which is particularly difficult because I do not own a television, receive a television signal, or have an internet connection fast enough to enable viewing television programs online). In any case whatever it was that I did last night, since it is logically impossible that I watched television, I did not write, and this morning as I was sitting on the train I spent a good deal of time reprimanding myself for this failure (even though the aforementioned “emotion”, “difficulty”, &c, &c) and resolved that I would no longer allow myself to fall victim to the kind of thinking which leads one to the comfort of the body rather than the triumph of the mind. (If “triumph of the mind” is a suspect phrase for you, as it is for me, we might instead say “the rigour of accomplishment and the security of routine”.) To this end I then made the decision not to sleep, or not to allow myself to sleep until I felt that I had manifested some serious action during the preceding waking period. Because I felt, and perhaps still feel, that I have spent my recent time sleeping instead of acting, that given opportunity (or, simply, “seeing” opportunity) (remotely, as if far off, on the edge of some cliff faraway or through the smeared glass of a periscope) I have chosen to “close my eyes” and retreat into non-action (or a kind of action that is not the required action, an oblique action that may be therapy, yes, but brings me no closer to my stated goal or to a given goal or goal imposed [outward imposition of goal making the goal no less authentic, and in fact more urgent]). Deciding, in that moment, as a way of bringing me back to myself, returning to rigour and routine, that I would follow Harry Mathews and write 20 lines a day, never more or less, something simple, straight-forward, but becoming more complex according to the size of paper used (since a smaller sheet, with less writing space, will necessarily require more thought) and according to the length of time I continue this project, since repetition and inversion are the cruxes of literary complexity. And to that end I began that project over lunch, and later wrote down the call number for Mathews’s book (20 Lines a Day) which, until this point, right now, I have never read.

This is, of course, not that effort, exceeding, as it does, 20 lines. And neither this or the aforementioned project bringing me closer to my stated goal (or original goal—the completion of the essay, a greater focus on my coursework) which led me to reprimanding myself this morning.



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